Gaining a little perspective

Published 9:57 pm Friday, July 31, 2009

Welcome to August, folks! The temperature is still going in one direction. The economy is still going in the other.

Schools across the country are nearly back in session. People across the country are very nearly tired of the word “recession.”

It’s hot. We’re exhausted. We’re trudging along and hoping some type of relief accompanies the arrival of fall.

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But guess what? In the midst of all of our trudging along, it has become ridiculously easy to overlook one simple thing.

It is August. Moreover, it is August 2009.

That means that we are on the downhill slide to closing out the first decade of the new millennium that feels less and less new by the day.

Ten years ago at this time, all anyone ever seemed to talk about was an alleged computer problem that would ultimately send us into a post apocalyptic world like that which is found in “The Postman.” Or was it “Water World?”

Whatever bad Kevin Costner movie you choose to remember, the reality a decade later is that “Y2K” is little more than a vaguely familiar pop culture reference.

We also talked a lot at the time about some guy from Texas named “W,” the son of a president everybody remembered much more fondly after his successor fell from grace.

Look at how different things are now. We went from paying so much per month for America Online to having the Internet nearly as much of a staple in homes as water and electricity.

“W” has, for better or worse, become the punchline of a number of jokes, and now we have a president who doesn’t exactly seem to fit the “country club” cut of his predecessors.

Remember the things we complained about then? I remember something about rising energy costs and global warming.

It seems like there were some persistent mutterings about an ever-tightening job market.

So now, none of us are exactly partying like it’s 1999. Nobody is necessarily afraid that the end is near. Rather, more of us are afraid that there is no end in sight.

Those energy costs are still up there. And, thanks in part to that guy “W” beat in that election way back when, we’ve still got global warming on our minds.

The August heat in Alabama won’t help that cause fade away anytime soon either.

And as for that job market? Well, it is about as bad as it ever has been.

But hey, at least we have the Internet right? And nobody is telling us that our computers are going to bring the downfall of society. So that has to be a good thing right?

At the end of the day, whether it is 1999 or 2009, I think the most important thing we can do is to start appreciating the things that are right with the world.

In my estimation, letting our complaints and murmurs serve as the soundtrack to a deflating economy and decaying society hardly seems to have made much of a difference over the last 10 years.

So much of life is about perspective. And it is a whole lot easier to fix the things that are wrong with the world if we can readily identify the things are right with it.